Entertainment - Movie Reviews

‘Fallen Kingdom’ is best sequel yet

By Gable Pierce
Times-News correspondent

   ”Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom” has all of the thrills and excitement associated with the original “Jurassic Park” film.
There’s a modern-day twist as well with a volcano erupting on Isla Nublar (think the recent volcanic eruption on the Big Island of Hawaii). This volcano, however, is threatening to destroy the dinosaurs.
Eli Mills (Rafe Spall), who handles the estate of aging tycoon Benjamin Lockwood (James Cromwell), has asked Claire (Bryce Dallas Howard) to help rescue the dinosaurs. The late “Jurassic Park” founder John Hammond had set aside some land to serve as a sanctuary for the dinosaurs.
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Superhero sequel well worth the wait: ‘Incredibles 2′ enjoyable for kids & adults alike

By Elspeth Macnab-Stark
Times-News correspondent 


This image released by Disney Pixar shows a scene from "Incredibles 2." [Disney / Pixar via The Associated Press

   It’s been 14 years since the super-powered Parr family crashed onto our movie screens, and writer/director Brad Bird has reportedly spent every minute since working on its sequel.
Picking up the story mere seconds after the end of “The Incredibles,” “Incredibles 2″ focuses on Elastigirl (Holly Hunter) and her mission to “bring Supers back.”
Meanwhile, Mr. Incredible (Craig T. Nelson) is juggling his duties as a stay-at-home dad — with baby Jack-Jack’s ever-changing powers; teenage Violet’s (Sarah Vowell) boy-problems; and a hyperactive Dash’s (Huck Milner) math homework — but with baby sitters like Edna Mode (Brad Bird) and Frozone (Samual L. Jackson), what could go wrong? Of course, there’s a villain with an elaborate plan to destroy everything, but up against this incredible family, they don’t stand a chance.
While Jack-Jack’s shenanigans undoubtedly entertain, it’s the core message of equality that will win you over.
“Incredibles 2″ flips the traditional gender roles embodied in the first movie, with Mr. Incredible as the doting parent, while Elastigirl takes the lead. Empowered by her job, Elastigirl steals the spotlight with her campaign to “Make Supers legal again.”
Each character’s personality is reflected in their individual powers. They’re a normal family, with normal problems — throw in super powers and you have an exaggerated look at the chaos inherent in any family. Quick dialogue and seamless animation add to both the scenes at home and the action sequences. The animation, characters and style were true to the read more…

‘Ocean’s 8′ is a solid spin-off

By Elspeth Macnab-Stark
Times-News correspondent

   ”Ocean’s 8″ brings us back to the brilliantly risky Ocean family business in a solid spin-off of the successful “Ocean’s 11″ trilogy.
Following George Clooney’s iconic role as Danny Ocean, Sandra Bullock plays his estranged sister Debbie, who has just been released from prison. She is putting together a crew to pull off the ultimate heist — stealing a $150 million necklace from New York City’s annual Met Gala.
The star-studded team of thieves included: Sandra Bullock, Cate Blanchett, Rhianna, Awkwafina, Anne Hathaway, Mindy Kaling, Helena Bonham-Carter and Sarah Paulson. James Corden and Richard Armitage also had key roles. Armitage plays Debbie’s ex-boyfriend, who framed her, thus providing the ulterior motive for the heist: revenge. When the team become suspects John Frazier (James Corden), the relentless insurance investigator, bails them out, a little too conveniently. Corden snatches up the role of hero, negating the feminist undertones and quickly diffusing the tension. This creates the only snag in the undeniably female focused film; why didn’t these intelligent women solve the problem themselves?
Meanwhile, socialite Daphne Kluger (Anne Hathaway) is a prop in Debbie’s plan.
The location of the Met Gala provided the perfect opportunity for celebrity cameos, including musicians, actors, models and designers. However, this glamorous setting seems to be the only attempt “Ocean’s 8″ makes to live up to the “Ocean’s 11″ films. “Ocean’s 8″ lacked the wit and astonishingly clever writing we’ve come to expect from the franchise, with new writer/director Gary Ross telling a predictable story. With no twists to keep the plot moving, it was left to the acting of the lead women to carry the film — a job they did incredibly well.
“Ocean’s 8″ is consistently entertaining. It maintains the same sense of humor as its prequels, with a new all-female cast to once again promote female empowerment in film. It takes the concept of high-profile male thieves and subverts the idea that the women are only involved with the crime if they’re involved with the men pulling it off.
“Somewhere out there, there’s an 8-year-old girl dreaming of becoming a criminal.” Debbie tells her team, “You’re doing this for her.”
Despite its other issues, “Ocean’s 8,” has, at the very least, created a group of incredible new role models.
“Ocean’s 8″ is rated PG-13 for suggestive content, mild language and casual drinking/drug use.

Elspeth Macnab-Stark is a high school graduate and a Teens & 20s writer.


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